New York Times deprives itself from thousands of RSS subscribers in one strike

The New York Times got Apple to shut down the Pulse iPad app (35k+ downloads) from the App Store just hours after Steve Jobs has demonstrated the app during his keynote. The reason? Pulse is a paid app, and the NYT’s RSS feed is off-limits to commercial use. It’s fair game, I don’t think that the NYT was going after paid RSS readers – until now. Some of those 35,000+ readers might go to NYT anyway, but chances are that thousands (most?) were new or casual readers who won’t bother. Therefore, I suspect that this action will result in a net loss to NYT. Pulse can probably work around this by asking the user to enter the RSS feed address instead of pre-loading it… cumbersome, but possible.

While the New York Times seems well within its rights, this is a dumb move: Pulse is good for them, so are other RSS readers, paid or not – they redirect huge pools of readers to the NYT’s website. Most users don’t know what the heck RSS feed are, and these news apps are the best way to get regular folks to keep up with your news on mobile devices. An article on the NYT’s website even praised the app.

This article was filed in Homepage > Apple > General > Top Stories.
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